- Match Report
WOMBATS TAME TIGERS
by Alex Koolhof
The Tokyo Wombats enjoyed a decent hit-out and warmup to the 2014 cricket season with a solid win over the Indian Tigers Cricket Club at Sano ground 3.
It was the first time these two sides had played each other in a friendly, following numerous attempts in the past to organize a match, but rain or player motivation had always thwarted our plans. This year however, a decent crop of new wombat players ensured we had the numbers and the weather this time around did not disappoint.
The Indian Tigers won the toss and decided to bat. Nick “strepsils” Goold, back in the Wombat fold after a couple of years of self-declared hiatus, took the new ball and although he struggled to find his old rhythym, did remove one of the slow scoring openers. He was unlucky not to have another as an edge flew relatively softly to first-gamer Vikram at slip, who could only manage to flap at the pill below his knees. Apparantely the “Vicar” was chatting about something considerably important as Nick trundled in to bowl.
Jimmi “Jazz” James debuted for the Wombats against his old team from the other end – slinging down quite a few zippy deliveries and eventually caught out the Tigers’ first drop off his own bowling. He too was unlucky not to have another in his cricket cornucopia after ex-Sano utility Hanif Khan put down a very catchable nick around head-height in the slips cordon. President Koolhof and Hanif replaced the opening bowlers and continued to restrict the opposition’s scoring opportunities. Koolhof castled the other opener for a measly 3 runs, leaving the Tigers stumbling at 3-36 after 12 overs.
New boy Maruf Hossain, hitherto very sprightly in the field and exhibiting a sharp return action to the keeper upon fielding in the covers, was called in to the attack. He duly struck in his second over as Hanif made sure not to spill a third catch on the boundary. The details of the second dropped catch escape this author’s memory except for the fact that it was Hanif loping in from the boundary. Mili D next rolled his arm over but unfortunately got carted for 28 runs from his two overs. Shazza Ahmed also tried hard to get into the groove of things but strayed into the wide groove more often than not.
By this stage, the Tigers had managed to pass 100 runs for 4 wickets down after 20 overs. Captain Beath thought it pertinent to give himself a bowl and soon clean bowled Vasanth. New player Vikram was tried at the other end for a couple of others, as was Frank “Buckets” Hart – who dished up quite a lot of rubbish to the batsmen, but somehow managed to snare 3 wickets in 4 overs, including the opposition’s top scorer (59) and captain, Balu. One of those dismissals was largely due to a fine catch by Jimmi running back with the flight of the ball. The Russian was re-introduced for a second spell and nabbed a couple late, one of those thanks to some tidy keeping by Tyson behind the stumps. He could have secured another wicket after a delivery was gently played back to him….but alas, he misjudged it completely and only came away with a nasty astro-turf burn on the hands.
The Indian Tigers all out for 210 runs in the 35th and final over of the innings.
The current TWCC regular opening pair of Gavin and Alex P, captain and vice captain respectively, got the Wombats off to a decent start in pursuit of the target. Fours and sixes came regularly – in fact, Beath’s first scoring shot was a decent blow down the ground to long-on for six bits. Patmore was more cautious, as is his style, defending the good balls and dispatching the bad ones along the ground to the boundary. His innings was cut short on 19 however after nicking one through to the keeper off bowler Chetak. Captain Beath soldiered on with the intent of ensuring ample practice time in the middle for the upcoming JCL season.
Shahir came and went for naught – he too edging to the Tigers’ gloveman, which brought Hanif to the crease. A renowned quick scorer-cum-big hitter, Hanif quickly settled and smashed the odd four or six while also taking the singles to rotate the strike with Beath. Both players passed 50 and pretty much made sure that the Wombats would not F up and lose the match from here on in. Beath finally fell for 69 – a numeral he would be fervidly proud to call his own – after Chetak keenly held on to a full-blooded drive hit slightly to the left of his bowling follow-through.
Hanif was joined by Jimmi, who showed he could be a useful addition to the Wombats’ middle order, picking up the singles and looking for the odd two or even the boundary rope. He was trapped leg before wicket after tallying 20 runs. Hanif departed 12 runs later for a well composed 61 after misplaying a delivery from Vignesh. Less than 20 runs were required for victory by this stage with oodles of overs left to be bowled in the innings. Vikram and Nick thus took us safely through to the required target of 211, only after Nick retorted to an aggressive bouncer by asserting that the game should be played in a more congenial manner.
MVP award for the Indian Tigers was given to the captain, Balu, for his innings of 59 and one wicket. For the Wombats, Frankie Hart earned himself a bottle of Hardys’ Wine as the Man of the Match for his quick-fire 3 wickets.
Many thanks to the Indian Tigers for the match and the Wombats wish them all the best for 2014 and look forward to playing them again in the T20 Japan Cup. Thanks also to Hanif and Frank for driving from the ground to the storage container before and after the game.
- “Maruf, Maruf, Maruf is on fire!” (who said this?)
- “It’s only a friendly dickhead” – Nick Goold.
- “Shacksy. Wait… what was the question?” – Gavin Beath.
- Koolhof: “1 ball to come Mili?”. Mili: “No, 2″. Koolhof: “Yeah I thought so”.
- Jimmi running back with the flight of the ball at mid-off. Hard to judge catch made look easy.
- Hanif in slips – fairly straight forward catch at head height – spilled through the hands.
- Hanif on the boundary. Regulation boundary catch. Plops out of the hands.
- Vikram in slips at knee-height. Maybe a hand to the ball…but spilled nonetheless.
- Koolhof – easy caught and bowled chance. Keen dive but no cigar for the Prez.
Great Moments in Sport
- Nick Goold. Stunning lofted-drive over cover for six!
- Frank taking 3 wickets (of their best batsmen) during his first spell for the Wombats.
- Nick Goold. Batting with his helmet on – but feels he no longer needs it. Runs 2/3rds of the way to the boundary and hurls the helmet 30 feet in the air with gusto towards the boundary rope because its quicker than someone coming out to get it. Probably damaged the lid for good! WTFs all-round from the scorer’s tent.
- Nick Goold. “It’s only a friendly dickhead”, after coping a bouncer after he overheard the opposition talking about it. Created a bit of tension on the field.
- Gavin Beath: “Let’s encourage our batters, boys.” Slightly taken aback team mates: “We were clapping your boundaries Beathy.” Beath: “Really? Didn’t hear anything.”